#WrestleAlmaty

Munkhbold clinches women's 55kg gold with match to spare as Tokyo-bound trio advance to finals

By Ken Marantz

After moving up from the bronze to silver last year, Dulguun MUNKHBOLD (MGL) assured that she would finish on top of the medal podium at this year's Asian Championships with a match to spare.

The women's competition, diluted by the absences of powerhouses Japan China as well as the People's Republic of Korea, got underway Thursday at the spectator-less Baluan Sholak Palace of Culture and Sports with all of the five weight classes in action having six entries or less.

The 55kg division, with just four participants, is being run as a straight round-robin with no semifinals or final. By winning both of her matches in the afternoon session by fall, Munkhbold clinched the gold regardless of the outcome of her final match in the night session.

"I definitely wanted to win the gold medal here and I still have a bout remaining which I would
like to win," Munkhbold said. "I saw some of [my opponents'] videos, but I have never wrestled them before. I love to win by falls. It's a great feeling."

Meanwhile, Valentina ISLAMOVA BRIK (KAZ), who came to Almaty already in possession of a berth at the Tokyo Olympics, and Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ) and Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ), who clinched spots at the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament held last week at this venue, all earned a chance to leave the Kazakh city with a continental crown.

Islamova Brik, who secured a ticket to Tokyo by placing third at 50kg at the 2019 World Championships in Nursultan, made mince meat of the competition, winning both of her group
matches by fall, then decking Yung Hsun LIN (TPE) in just :23 in the semifinals.

"I have qualified for the Olympics and till then, every tournament I will prepare for will be a
practice tournament for me," Islamova Brik said.

In the final, the Russian-born Islamova Brik will aim for a first career Asian gold after winning bronzes the past two years when she takes on Jasmina IMMAEVA (UZB), who edged Seema SEEMA (IND) 3-2 in the other semifinal.

"I have never won the Asian Championships," Islamova Brik said. "I always finished with a bronze medal. So it's good to be in the final and hopefully win the gold medal."

As for the "secret" of her powerful display today, she replied, "My body feels very good. My training has been at a level where I can say that I am fully fit."

Zhumanazarova, a 2019 Asian bronze medalist coming off a successful run in the Asian Olympic qualifier at 68kg, will battle for the gold in that weight class against 2018 world junior silver medalist Delgermaa ENKHSAIKHAN (MGL).

"The last month I was training at my center in Kyrgyzstan and before the Asian qualifiers, so it has been good training for the last month," said Zhumanazarova, the 2019 world junior silver medalist. "The hard work paid off as I qualified for the Olympics and now I am in the final of the Asian Championships."

Zhumanazarova chalked up a pair of technical falls before using a lift-and-dump to score a semifinal victory by fall in 4:11 over Eun Sun JEONG (KOR). Enkhsaikhan advanced to the final with a 10-0 technical fall in 2:09 over Azoda ESBERGENOVA (UZB).

"I thought I was mentally very strong today and the preparation was up to the mark," Zhumanazarova said. "Every day and every tournament, I prepare in a certain manner and it has worked well for me. Let's see what happens in the final."

Jeong had earned her spot in the semifinals with a remarkable comeback against Nisha NISHA (IND). Trailing 6-0, Jeong took the Indian to the mat with a headlock with 1:10 left, then secured a fall with :17 remaining on the clock.

Medet Kyzy, Tokyo-bound after winning at 76kg in the Asian Olympic qualifier, will look to improve on the silver medal she won last year in New Delhi when she faces 2020 bronze medalist Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) in a rematch of their group encounter.

Both wrestlers sailed into the final with dominant victories, as Medet Kyzy followed a takedown with four straight rolls for a 10-0 technical fall over Seoyeon JEONG (KOR) in 1:41, while Syzdykova took a half-minute less to put away Pooja POOJA (IND) by fall after slamming her to the mat by lateral drop.

In their group match, Medet Kyzy scored two takedowns in the second period to secure a 6-1 victory.

Sarita SARITA (IND), the lone defending champion in action Thursday, went down to defeat in
a group match at 59kg, but earned a shot at revenge and the gold when she set up a final clash with two-time world bronze medalist Shoovdor BAATARJAV (MGL).

Baatarjav battled to a razor-thin 5-4 victory over Sarita in their opening match of the day, then
the two dominated all others to advance to the final.

In the semifinals, Sarita swept past Nuraida ANARKULOVA (KGZ), winning by 11-0 technical fall in 1:35 with a succession of gut wrenches, while Baatarjav gained 4 points with a slick fireman's carry en route to a 10-0 technical fall in 2:08 over Dilfuza AIMBETOVA (UZB).

Sarita, the 2017 Asian silver medalist, will be looking to become the first Indian to defend an Asian title. For Baatarjav, the final gives her a chance for an elusive senior Asian gold after winning a silver in 2014 and bronze in 2018.

At 55kg, Munkhbold can avoid having the title decided on tiebreaking criteria if, as expected, she defeats winless Hyungjoo KIM (KOR) in the final group match.

If the Mongolian loses, she will finish with a 2-1 record and tied with the winner of the match between Madina USMONJONOVA (UZB) and Aisha UALISHAN (KAZ). But because Munkhbold has beaten both of them, she will get the gold based on the head-to head result.

Kim, who appeared at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and is still going strong at 36, suffered a pair of close losses that dropped her out of title contention. She lost a 5-5 decision to Ualishan, then fell 5-3 to Usmonjonova.

The tournament received the stunning news last week that the Japanese women's team would not be coming after an unspecified number of team members were suspected of coming into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus. The announcement came just before the team was to fly to Almaty.

The Chinese women pulled out as they were undergoing two days of testing arranged by the Chinese embassy, a team official said. The team was to leave from Kazakhstan on Thursday night.

Day 3 Results

Women's Wrestling Semifinals

50kg (6 entries)
Valentina ISLAMOVA BRIK (KAZ) df. Yung Hsun LIN (TPE) by Fall, :23 (4-0)
Jasmina IMMAEVA (UZB) df. Seema SEEMA (IND), 3-2

55kg (4 entries)
Standings (after 2 rounds)
1. Dulguun MUNKHBOLD (MGL), 2-0; 2. Madina USMONJONOVA (UZB), 1-1; 3. Aisha UALISHAN (KAZ), 1-1; 4. Hyungjoo KIM (KOR), 0-2.
Munkhbold clinched gold medal

59kg (6 entries)
Shoovdor BAATARJAV (MGL) df. Dilfuza AIMBETOVA (UZB) by TF, 10-0, 2:08
Sarita SARITA (IND) df. Nuraida ANARKULOVA (KGZ) by TF, 11-0, 1:35

68kg (6 entries)
Meerim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ) df. Eun Sun JEONG (KOR) by Fall, 4:11 (6-0)
Delgermaa ENKHSAIKHAN (MGL) df. Azoda ESBERGENOVA (UZB) by TF, 10-0, 2:09

76kg (6 entries)
Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) df. Pooja POOJA (IND) by Fall, 1:11 (4-0)
Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) vs Seoyeon JEONG (KOR) by TF, 10-0, 1:41

#WrestleAlmaty

Ranking Series: Bolat Turlykhanov Cup entries

By Eric Olanowski

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (May 25) -- The former Kazakh capital Almaty will host the second of four Ranking Series events, the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup from June 2 to 5.

Over 275 wrestlers from 15 nations spanning Africa, Asia, Europe and Pan-America will make the trek to the southern mountainous region of Kazakhstan for the point-earning Ranking Series event.

On the freestyle side of the competition, the biggest storyline is the insanely stacked squad that Iran is bringing. Leading the charge will be reigning world champions Hassan YAZDANICHARATI (IRI) and Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) and Amir ZARE (IRI). Asian and junior world champion Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) is moving up from 92kg to 97kg for the event.

Yazdani, the Rio Olympic gold medalist and Tokyo Olympic runner-up, will return to the mat for the first time since his ultra-emotional win over his arch-rival David TAYLOR (USA), which led to him winning his third world title. “The Greatest” enters the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup ranked second at 86kg – 1600 points behind first-ranked Taylor – but will grab the world’s top spot barring a catastrophic meltdown.

Top-ranked Ghasempour has a stronghold on the 92kg field, but top-20 foes No. 11 Orgilokh DAGVADORJ (MGL), No. 15 Viky CHAHAR (IND) and No. 16 Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ) will be looking to halt his hopes of expanding his 7,500-point lead.

Despite social media rumors that Zare has pulled out of the competition due to an injury, he’s still registered for the competition on Wednesday (May 25).

Another Asian freestyle powerhouse bringing a loaded lineup is India. Their team will feature Olympic medalists Ravi KUMAR (IND) and Bajrang PUNIA (IND) and the 2019 world silver medalist Deepak PUNIA (IND).

The world’s top Greco-Roman wrestler Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) headlines the GR entries. “The Iceman” enters the competition riding a five-tournament win streak and hasn’t lost since 2019. Geraei won Olympic, senior world, U23, and Asian gold medals during that impressive run.

Geraei will be wrestling at 72kg, which is five kilos up from his Olympic-winning weight of 67kg. Another Iranian reigning world champion that’ll also be moving up is Meysam DALKHANI (IRI). He won world gold at 63kg but will replace Geraei at 67kg for this tournament.

Other massive Greco-Roman storylines to follow are the potential matchups at 63kg and 130kg.

Continental champions Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) and Kerem KAMAL (TUR) are bumping up a weight class and could go toe-to-toe at 63kg.

At 130kg, Olympic silver medalist and top-ranked Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) is the front-runner, but reigning world champion No. 5 Aliakbar YOUSOFIA (IRI) is tailing close behind.

Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI), Iran’s Tokyo Olympic Games rep, will look to regain his starting spot from Yousofia, who stepped into Iran’s lineup at the 2021 World Championships after Mirzazadeh tested positive for COVID-19 in the leadup to the Oslo.

Before Oslo, Mirzazadeh grabbed the Tokyo spot from Yousofia with a win in the Poland Open finals.

Other wrestlers to pay attention to at 130kg are reigning Asian champion Alimkhan SYZDYKOV (KAZ) and Yasar Dogu Ranking Series champion Osman YILDIRIM (TUR).

In women’s wrestling, Olympic bronze medalist and top-ranked Bolortuya BATOCHIR (MGL) will look to grow her narrow 1,200-point lead on Akari FUJINAMI (JPN). She’ll compete at 53kg.

At 76kg, a colossal top-three clash between No. 2 Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) and No. 3 Samar HAMZA (EGY) could happen. Medet Kyzy won gold at the Yasar Dogu and Asian Championships this season, while Hamza is fresh off winning gold at the African Championships.

Wrestling begins next Thursday (June 2-5) and can be watched live on uww.org.


Olympic silver medalist Ravi KUMAR (IND) will look to win his third gold medal of the year. He'll compete up at 61kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

57kg
Aman SEHRAWAT (IND)
Zhakhongir AKHMAJANOV (KAZ)
Meirambek KARTBAY (KAZ)
Merey BAZARBAYEV (KAZ)
Abdymalik KARACHOV (KGZ)
Munkh BATKHUYAG (MGL)
Dashtseren PURVEE (MGL)
Nasanbuyan NARMANDAKH (MGL)

61kg
Ravi KUMAR (IND)
Assylzhan YESSENGELDI (KAZ)
Zhassulan TASKUL (KAZ)
Yeldos MOMBEKOV (KAZ)
Ulukbek ZHOLDOSHBEKOV (KGZ)
Bekbolot MYRZANAZAR UULU (KGZ)
Chinzorig TSERMAA (MGL)
Narankhuu NARMANDAKH (MGL)
Baljinnyam DAMJIN (MGL)
Ali M M ABURUMAILA (PLE)
Shamsiddin IBODOV (TJK)

65kg
Bajrang PUNIA (IND)
Adlan ASKAROV (KAZ)
Iassaui MUKHTARULY (KAZ)
Rifat SAIBOTALOV (KAZ)
Tsogbadrakh TSEVEENSUREN (MGL)
Tulga TUMUR-OCHIR (MGL)
Tugsjargal ERDENEBAT (MGL)
Komron KHOLOV (TJK)
Abbos RAKHMONOV (UZB)
Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB)

70kg
Vishal KALIRAMANA (IND)
Syrbaz TALGAT (KAZ)
Amandyk BAKEYEV (KAZ)
Rodion ANCHUGIN (KAZ)
Alibek OSMONOV (KGZ)
Ernazar AKMATALIEV (KGZ)
Khanburged GANKHUYAG (MGL)
Begzjav GANSUKH (MGL)
Temuulen ENKHTUYA (MGL)
Muboraksho QURBONBEKOV (TJK)
Selahattin KILICSALLAYAN (TUR)
Zafarbek OTAKHONOV (UZB)

74kg
Amr Reda RAMADAN (EGY)
Naveen NAVEEN (IND)
Nurkozha KAIPANOV (KAZ)
Nurlan BEKZHANOV (KAZ)
Kanat MUSSABEKOV (KAZ)
Byambadorj BAT-ERDENE (MGL)
Suldkhuu OLONBAYAR (MGL)
Sumiyabazar ZANDANBUD (MGL)
Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK)
Fazli ERYILMAZ (TUR)
Ikhtiyor NAVRUZOV (UZB)
Asomiddin HASANOV (UZB)

79kg
Gourav BALIYAN (IND)
Bolat SAKAYEV (KAZ)
Zhiger ZAKIROV (KAZ)
Daulet YERGESH (KAZ)
Saiakbai USUPOV (KGZ)
Arsalan BUDAZHAPOV (KGZ)
Dulguun ALTANZUL (MGL)
Batzul DAMJIN (MGL)
Byambadorj ENKHBAYAR (MGL)
Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK)
Jakub SYKORA (SVK)

86kg
Deepak PUNIA (IND)
Hassan YAZDANI (IRI)
Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ)
Nurzhan ISSAGALIYEV (KAZ)
Abylaikhan NURSULTANOV (KAZ)
Bat Erdene BYAMBASUREN (MGL)
Temuujin MENDBILEG (MGL)
Tsogtgerel MUNKHBAATAR (MGL)
Boris MAKOEV (SVK)
Fatih ERDIN (TUR)
Bekzod ABDURAKHMONOV (UZB)
Bobur ISLOMOV (UZB)

92kg
Viky CHAHAR (IND)
Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI)
Islyambek ILYASSOV (KAZ)
Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ)
Abdimanap BAIGENZHEYEV (KAZ)
Orgilokh DAGVADORJ (MGL)

97kg
Deepak NEHRA (IND)
Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI)
Yunus GAFUROV (KAZ)
Akezhan AITBEKOV (KAZ)
Mamed IBRAGIMOV (KAZ)
Batzul ULZIISAIKHAN (MGL)
Batyrbek TSAKULOV (SVK)
Faizi FAIZZODA (TJK)
Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR)
Mukhammadrasul RAKHIMOV (UZB)
Magomed IBRAGIMOV (UZB)

125kg
Mohit GREWAL (IND)
Amir ZARE (IRI)
Alisher YERGALI (KAZ)
Oleg BOLTIN (KAZ)
Yusup BATIRMURZAEV (KAZ)
Lkhagvagerel MUNKHTUR (MGL)
Batmagnai ENKHTUVSHIN (MGL)
Salim ERCAN (TUR)
Sardorbek KHOLMATOV (UZB)


Reigning world and Olympic champion Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) headlines the Greco-Roman entries. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Greco-Roman

55kg
Giorgi TOKHADZE (GEO)
Arjun HALAKURKI (IND)
Poya DAD MARZ (IRI)
Marlan MUKASHEV (KAZ)
Alpamys DASTANBEK (KAZ)
Khorlan ZHAKANSHA (KAZ)
Davaabandi MUNKH-ERDENE (MGL)
Aslamdzhon AZIZOV (TJK)
Jasurbek ORTIKBOEV (UZB)

60kg
Marat GARIPOV (BRA)
Gyanender DAHIYA (IND)
Pouya NASERPOUR (IRI)
Ali Reza NEJATI (IRI)
Amangali BEKBOLATOV (KAZ)
Yernar FIDAKHMETOV (KAZ)
Yernur FIDAKHMETOV (KAZ)
Kuttubek ABDYKERIM UULU (KGZ)
Firuz MIRZORAJABOV (TJK)
Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB)
Ilkhom BAKHROMOV (UZB)

63kg
Kerim MACHALIKASHVILI (GEO)
Beka GURULI (GEO)
NEERAJ (IND)
Galym KABDUNASSAROV (KAZ)
Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ)
Mirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ)
Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ)
Dastan KADYROV (KGZ)
Ahmet UYAR (TUR)
Kerem KAMAL (TUR)

67kg
Joni KHETSURIANI (GEO)
Sachin SAHRAWAT (IND)
Meysam DALKHANI (IRI)
Sultan ASSETULY (KAZ)
Daniyar KALENOV (KAZ)
Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ)
Amantur ISMAILOV (KGZ)
Khalmurat IBRAGIMOV (KGZ)
Kaly SULAIMANOV (KGZ)
Abror ATABAEV (UZB)

72kg
VIKAS (IND)
Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI)
Alikhan KOKENOV (KAZ)
Azat SADYKOV (KAZ)
Abylaikhan AMZEYEV (KAZ)
Sheroz OCHILOV (TJK)
Makhmud BAKHSHILLOEV (UZB)
Jamol JUMABAEV (UZB)

77kg
Khvicha ANANIDZE (GEO)
Sajan BHANWALA (IND)
Mohammad Reza MOKHTARI (IRI)
Demeu ZHADRAYEV (KAZ)
Tamerlan SHADUKAYEV (KAZ)
Maxat YEREZHEPOV (KAZ)
Renat ILIAZ UULU (KGZ)
Habibjon ZUHUROV (TJK)
Yunus Emre BASAR (TUR)
Dilshod OMONGELDIYEV (UZB)

82kg
Tornike DZAMASHVILI (GEO)
Singh HARPREET (IND)
Pejman POSHTAM (IRI)
Miras BARSHYLYKOV (KAZ)
Rakhmet SAPIYEV (KAZ)
Dias KALEN (KAZ)
Kalidin ASYKEEV (KGZ)
Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ)
Sukhrob ABDULKHAEV (TJK)
Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR)
Mukhammadkodir RASULOV (UZB)

87kg
Gurami KHETSURIANI (GEO)
Aivengo RIKADZE (GEO)
Sunil KUMAR (IND)
Ramin TAHERISARTANG (IRI)
Ali Abdolreza SHARIFI (IRI)
Baurzhan MUSSIN (KAZ)
Azamat KUSTUBAYEV (KAZ)
Nursultan TURSYNOV (KAZ)
Melis AITBEKOV (KGZ)
Atabek AZISBEKOV (KGZ)
Jalgasbay BERDIMURATOV (UZB)

97kg
Aleksi LODIA (GEO)
DEEPANSHU (IND)
Mahdi FALLAHHAMIDABADI (IRI)
Yersaiyn SAIFULLA (KAZ)
Olzhas SYRLYBAY (KAZ)
Sanzhar SERIKKAN (KAZ)
Beksultan MAKHMUDOV (KGZ)
Metehan BASAR (TUR)
Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB)

130kg
Sulkhan BUIDZE (GEO)
Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO)
SATISH (IND)
Aliakbar YOUSOFIAHMADCHALI (IRI)
Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI)
Mansur SHADUKAYEV (KAZ)
Anton SAVENKO (KAZ)
Alimkhan SYZDYKOV (KAZ)
Murat RAMONOV (KGZ)
Osman YILDIRIM (TUR)


Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Bolortuya BAT OCHIR (MGL) is the biggest star of women's wrestling who'll be in Kazakhstan. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Women’s Wrestling

50kg
Turkan NASIROVA (AZE)
Shahana NAZAROVA (AZE)
NEELAM (IND)
Svetlana ANKICHEVA (KAZ)
Aigul NURALIM (KAZ)
Namuuntsetseg TSOGT-OCHIR (MGL)
Otgonjargal DOLGORJAV (MGL)
Jasmina IMMAEVA (UZB)

53kg
Tatyana VARANSOVA (AZE)
Leyla GURBANOVA (AZE)
Pooja GEHLOT (IND)
Ellada MAKHYADDINOVA (KAZ)
Zhuldyz ESHIMOVA (KAZ)
Aisha UALISHAN (KAZ)
Anudari NANDINTSETSEG (MGL)
Buman ENKHBOLD (MGL)
Bolortuya BAT-OCHIR (MGL)
Aktenge KEUNIMJAEVA (UZB)
Dilshoda MATNAZAROVA (UZB)

55kg
Sushma SHOKEEN (IND)
Assylzat SAGYMBAY (KAZ)
Marina SEDNEVA (KAZ)
Ainur ASHIMOVA (KAZ)
Khishigsuren BATBOLD (MGL)
Shokhida AKHMEDOVA (UZB)

57kg
Mansi AHLAWAT (IND)
Emma TISSINA (KAZ)
Nilufar RAIMOVA (KAZ)
Laura ALMAGANBETOVA (KAZ)
Bolortuya KHURELKHUU (MGL)
Sumiya ERDENECHIMEG (MGL)
Othelie HOEIE (NOR)
Laylokhon SOBIROVA (UZB)

59kg
Alyona KOLESNIK (AZE)
Sarita MOR (IND)
Aizhan ISMAGULOVA (KAZ)
Diana KAYUMOVA (KAZ)
Shoovdor BAATARJAV (MGL)
Tsogzolmaa DORJSUREN (MGL)
Grace BULLEN (NOR)
Dilfuza AIMBETOVA (UZB)

62kg
Zhala ALIYEVA (AZE)
Tetiana OMELCHENKO (AZE)
Sakshi MALIK (IND)
Irina KUZNETSOVA (KAZ)
Ayaulym KASSYMOVA (KAZ)
Tserenchimed SUKHEE (MGL)
Khongorzul BOLDSAIKHAN (MGL)
Gantuya ENKHBAT (MGL)
Rushana ABDIRASULOVA (UZB)

65kg
Elis MANOLOVA (AZE)
MANISHA (IND)
Gaukhar MUKATAY (KAZ)
Dariga ABEN (KAZ)
Yelena SHALYGINA (KAZ)
Purevsuren ULZIISAIKHAN (MGL)
Ariukhan JUMABAEVA (UZB)
Dinora RUSTAMOVA (UZB)

68kg
Divya KAKRAN (IND)
Albina KAIRGELDINOVA (KAZ)
Madina BAKBERGENOVA (KAZ)
Delgermaa ENKHSAIKHAN (MGL)
Bolortungalag ZORIGT (MGL)

72kg
BIPASHA (IND)
Alexandra ZAITSEVA (KAZ)
Zhamila BAKBERGENOVA (KAZ)
Davaanasan ENKH AMAR (MGL)
Svetlana OKNAZAROVA (UZB)

76kg
Samar HAMZA (EGY)
Pooja SIHAG (IND)
Inkara ZHANATAYEVA (KAZ)
Gulmaral YERKEBAYEVA (KAZ)
Ainagul ABIROVA (KAZ)
Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ)
Ariunjargal GANBAT (MGL)
Zagardulam NAIGALSUREN (MGL)
Urtnasan GAN-OCHIR (MGL)